An Islamic Approach to Inequality and Poverty

24 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2018

See all articles by Asad Zaman

Asad Zaman

Al-Nafi; Akhuwat University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 3, 2018


We argue that ways of thinking about poverty changed dramatically due to the Great Transformation in Europe which created a market society. These ways spread to the rest of world due to the colonization and global conquest of Europe. The market society requires a labor market which de-humanizes people turning them into commodities. This and other related changes in attitudes toward wealth and poverty are the sources of the difficulties created by poverty and inequality. An Islamic approach requires re-creation of society on the basis of generosity and cooperation, values which are antithetical to greed and competition, the basis of market societies. We sketch a three-dimensional approach to resolving problems created by inequalities and poverty, based on spiritual, social, and institutional components. In each area, the source materials of Islam and Islamic history provide ample guidance and precedent for a radically different approach to these problems.

Keywords: Poverty, Inequality, Islamic Economics, Polanyi

JEL Classification: P4, I3

Suggested Citation

Zaman, Asad, An Islamic Approach to Inequality and Poverty (January 3, 2018). Journal of King Abdulaziz University: Islamic Economics, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Asad Zaman (Contact Author)

Al-Nafi ( email )

64 Fullerton Crecent
Markham, Ontario L35 3G5

Akhuwat University ( email )

Ferozepur Road
Kasur, Punjab 55110
55110 (Fax)


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